Collier County approves land-buying program

Alyssa Segura, Contributing Writer

In January, Collier County commissioners approved a land-buying program that will help citizens and wildlife.

Summer Araque, the director of Conservation Collier, presented the Cycle 10 proposition to the Board of County Commissioners.

Cycle 10 included 1,847 acres of land across Collier County. The properties were approved for maintenance.

Upkeep is needed for some of the desired properties, Araque said. Some properties have contamination issues and will not be pursued until fixed.

More public recreation, public access and resource protection are the three objectives for acquiring the land under Cycle 10. “We’ve heard from a lot of people in the community that any conservation is good,” Araque said.

Conservation Collier can begin paying for property appraisals for the approved lands. Additionally, it can add further properties to the program for acquisition consideration.

Amy Hamilton, a Naples resident of over 20 years, has witnessed the city’s development.

“It’s not the same as it was,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said she supports the initiative. “[More people] can come out and walk, be in touch with nature, and not have to see so many buildings,” Hamilton said.

The documents detailing the properties show more public recreation would provide more hunting and camping opportunities for visitors and residents. More public access includes additional hiking trails. Resource protection includes acquiring land for water management purposes, as well as gopher tortoise protection on Marco Island.

“Conservation is good for people that live here and for the visitors,” Araque said. “It provides more public access and resource protection even though we see so much development going on.”